Josh Williamson’s crossover event “Shadow War” comes to an end this week in Shadow War: Omega #1. The killer of Ra’s al Ghul has been revealed, but they’re also a metahuman who won’t be easy to take down. Oh, and he wants to kill everyone. Just another day for Batman, am I right?! (Spoilers ahead for the “Shadow War” story!)
Shadow War: Omega #1 opens with a single panel of Geo-Force in the now, then smash cuts to the day his country of Markovia was attacked. The fallout of Ra’s defeating Leviathan meant many people were killed in Markovia, and we get to see that violence firsthand through Geo-Force’s own haunted perspective. This scene acts as a bit of political commentary when it comes to the geopolitical collateral damage of war as well as the fall of a once valiant hero into a man who only desires revenge.
This opening establishes Geo-Force’s motivation, although you’ll likely not feel very empathetic. That’s because he’s depicted as a man with only blind rage motivating him. On some scale, it makes sense, and he even points out to Batman that people like Ra’s should have been put in the ground long ago. Williamson also makes a strong case for the fact that if Gotham was attacked like Markovia, Batman might feel the same way.
Those thoughtful ideas take a backseat rather quickly, though, as Geo-Force goes on a full attack against mostly street-level fighters. As far as crossover plot lines, Williamson brings characters together like Black Canary while also further building on Batman making amends with Damian as their bond grows stronger.
Those parts are good, but they also must contend with the overly used superhero bad guy trope of the villain growing into a kaiju. In response, Geo-Force uses his powers to basically become a giant rock monster. If you can ignore the solidly overdone concept, the resolution also comes a little too easily. Ultimately, this villain is being used to force Damian and Talia to reconnect so it accomplishes its goals.
The main story is drawn by Stephen Segovia and Mike Henderson, with colors by Hi-Fi. They’ll make you believe Geo-Force is a major threat, and when he embiggens, his sheer size and scope are well done. The opening attack on Markovia is also quite compelling, with great fire effects and total chaos. That city took a huge hit on so many levels, and the art captures that perfectly. Props to Henderson for drawing a great double-page splash of Damian and Batman that feels very pure and helps the story parts of their “reunion.”
Fans of epilogues should enjoy the final few pages. We get a snapshot of all the key players, and it’s nice to see that this crossover event is going to have multiple storylines spin-off from its finale. Howard Porter gets the opportunity to draw the final scene that ties directly into Dark Crisis. Given the happenings with Deathstroke and Lazarus Pits, this new development should be interesting to follow in the coming months.
Shadow War: Omega #1 is the kind of comic crossover finale that you respect for how accomplishing most of its goals while setting up future stories. That’s a big reason we get events at all, and thankfully this one ends in a way that feels genuinely purposeful. Sadly, though, it does fall prey to tropes in superhero comics that feel tired and thus negate some of its impact.
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